Allied Health Professionals with Clinical Depression - Research Proposal Assessment Answers

November 05, 2018
Author : Charles Hill

Solution Code: 1DGB

Question: Allied Health Professionals with Clinical Depression

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Health Care Assignment


Lived Experiences of Allied Health Professionals with Clinical Depression in Western Australia

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Mental disorders refer to some conditions that vary in forms of severity as well as the duration that they persist in a patient (Hofmann et al., 2010). The most commonly experienced mental disorders include depression, nervousness, schizophrenia, schizoaffective and bipolar disorders. A report by the National Mental Health in 2013 indicated that about 3% of Australians (about 600,000) had severe mental illness (Ayyoub, 2015). These results were from the evidence of diagnosis, symptoms and the disability associated with them. Mental disorders affect the patients, their families and the society as a whole. The patient lost cognitive, social, emotional abilities and extrapolated to wastage of resources in taking care of them, unemployment, underemployment, reduced productivity, and homelessness. Therefore, the importance of proper mental health is mostly emphasized on by the Australian government to relieve its severity and the economic impacts it causes (Katon et al., 2010). Depression is a mental condition whereby an individual feels sad, hopeless and unimportant thus affecting their ability to live in a normal way (Highet et al., 2006).

The Australian government partners with National Mental Health Strategy and provides programs and services that the mental health necessities for the affected citizens. Some commissions are tasked with monitoring and provision of programs that can reform the mental disorders (Drury et al., 2014). From the previous surveys carried out, it can be concluded that the prevalence of mental disabilities is very high in Australia. From the 2007 survey results, citizens aged between 16-85 years had mental disorders (Krishnaswamy et al., 2009). The most common disorders were contributing to 14.4 % of the population, followed by emotional disorders such as depression (6.2%) and substance abuse disorders (5.1 %). Most people with mental problems live with support from the communities and health caregivers through clinical support (Milgrom et al., 2008). Another case, some people experience a mental disorder which impairs all facets of their lives thus necessitating frequent and prolonged periods of hospitalization and continued support from community members.

This is the prime reason as to why the professional bodies of the twelve allied health professions in the United Kingdom agreed to have a collaborative ambition so as to be recognized for their roles in the public health workforce. The allied health professionals contribute to this through their work on mental, physical and social health to individuals, communities, and populations. However, they have been reported to fall victims of depression in the course of their duties in the medical field.


  1. To determine the prevalence of depression cases on allied health professionals in Western Australia.
  2. To determine the causes and gender distribution of allied health professionals affected by depression.
  3. To evaluate the effectiveness of programs and medication that are offered to treat and help allied

    health professionals cope up with depression.

Significance of the study

Because of social and associated economic impacts that depression causes in the communities and governments, there is the need to do further research to mitigate this problem especially the allied health professionals. This is because they are the people that the patients turn to for medical assistance. Recently, there have been reports of high cases of depression, anxiety and suicide among the medical professionals in Australia. It calls for joint surveillance and support programs so that more of the Australian allied health professionals and citizens can be involved in productive activities. Additionally, many of the Western Australians commit suicide annually due to mental health problems, while the youth is vulnerable to developing mental problems due to misuse of alcohol and drugs. These can be supported by several cases in the courts whereby the defendants were reported to suffer mental problems.

This study aims at getting the experiences that allied health professionals have had in Western Australia. The results from this study will enable the health practitioners to adopt methods that can reduce the occurrence of depression as they attend to the patients in order to thwart this devastating problem. Moreover, the results from this study will enable the National Mental Health strategy to extend its operations to health professionals in Western Australia. Finally, the government will cut down on its costs incurred in funding various programs to manage mental illnesses, and achieve productivity.



Depression is classified based on the levels of disability that it causes to the individual. A major depression interferes with a person’s ability to work, sleep, read and eat. Although it might occur once, it might reoccur on multiple occasions. Dysthemia causes less severe symptoms, but a person is likely to experience a major depressive episode in his/ her life.

Association of depression with Unemployment

Depression manifests itself in various ways in different people and is associated with several symptoms. It is characterized by persistent low mood and loss of pleasure or interest in most activities, emotional, physical, behavioural and cognitive symptoms. In a survey among 46,513 individuals of working age with depression low cognitive abilities had an adverse impact on the outputs and employment outcomes. Higher symptoms, severity and low educational levels acted as barriers to employment for people experiencing depression. Symptoms of depression were highly significant regarding the impact on jobs and appeared as potentially difficult for both jobs and created a stumbling block to seeking fresh employment opportunities.

Causes of Depression among allied health professionals

They include psychosocial stress, severe or prolonged illness, major lifestyle change, or experience of a traumatic event. Psychological stress can also cause it as the mental strain that is brought on by unreachable expectations, peer pressure, and bum-out (Chiba et al., 2012). Traumatic events include combating stress at the work place, natural disaster memories, assault or rape and loss of a job. Genetics genetics and hereditary disposition, as explanations for depression have been documented. The genetic contribution to mood disorders is high when the symptoms first appear in childhood or adolescents. More than 50% of children with a parent who had a history of major depression have an episode of depression themselves (Flint & Kendler, 2014).

Persistent depression has been associated with people suffering from end stage renal diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus. In allied health professionals, bullying in their job stations is a major contributor of depression. Although bullying from an occupation a hazard in the health care, no much concentration has been made to determine the cause and the effects that this causes. A study to determine the effects of bullying in the workplace in medical practitioners in the allied health context, 24 % of the respondents reported cases of bullying. This was attributed to low support from the supervisors and leading to a negative effectiveness found that and the emergence of depression (Demir et al., 2013).

Treatment of depression

Although treatment reduces the severity of depression, illnesses, they are bound to recur. Eating a balanced diet, i.e. small throughout the day helps one to keep the energy up and minimize the shift in moods. Carbohydrates represent a preferred source without the need for common sugary foods (Duman et al., 2012). One should also adopt stress reduction methods because increased pressure increases depression. Also, depressed people should seek social support services by creating social networks. These are in the form of keeping contact with family members and friends or joining a club which keeps someone occupied (Souery et al., 2006).

Depressed people should also sleep regularly so as to bring the mind to rest. Exercise has also been implicated as a treatment option for depression by boosting serotonin, endorphins and triggering of new brain cells and connections. In the case of allied health professionals, they should be accorded protection from bullying and get support from their supervisors.

Symptoms of depression

For a person to be diagnosed with depression, there should be a manifestation of:

  1. Feeling of being tired
  2. Withdrawal from friends
  3. Anger/ anxiety
  4. Sadness most of the times
  5. Feeling of guilt
  6. Weight loss

Research questions

  1. What are the causes of depression on allied health professionals in Western Australia?
  2. What are the treatment options for allied health professionals diagnosed with depression?
  3. What activities can depress allied health professionals engaged in order to alleviate the symptoms of depression?


Ethical considerations

Ethical clearance in this study will be in two stages: the funding part and the ethical committee part. Funding will be obtained from a fellowship grant by the University whereby the initial and potential ethical issues relating to this study will be addressed. In the second part, applications will be made to two separate ethical review committees i.e. psychiatry department and one to the faculty of Psychology. The basis of this application will be that the study will be conducted among allied health professionals and that the principle investigator will be from the University. Once the study is approved, all the inputs from both ethical bodies will be adopted in this study.

Recruitment strategy

This will be a randomized qualitative study among allied health professionals so that all the eligible participants will have an equal opportunity of being selected to participate in the study. The participants will be recruited by the research team in a given hospital in Western Australia. Inclusion criteria will be based on the presentation with symptoms of depression within the last three months.

Data collection

This will be an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the depression experiences which is beyond a common sense awareness leading to a more informed and empathic practice and the fact that it is more objective than other methods like interviews. Additionally, interpretative phenomenological analysis will seek the feelings of allied professional with depression and the value that they attach to these experiences. The study will be a qualitative semi structured interview among allied health professions to determine their experiences with depression in Western Australia. The allied health professionals will consist of social workers, psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

A signed informed consent will be obtained from the willing participants by introducing the researcher and giving a promise of confidentiality of the information provided by the subject. About 130 allied health professionals working in a large Australian health care will be interrogated to capture useful information. They will be interviewed on their experiences in terms of nature and the magnitude of workplace and depression that they have encountered. Also, focused group discussions will be conducted to a collection of allied health professionals to get their group views. It is done to capture any other responses that might not be covered in this tool. However, in the process, if a participant wishes to withdraw from the survey, they will be free to exit.

Data analysis

Patterns and indications of similar responses within the theme of the study will be evaluated by going through the acquired information. The information will be classified into transcripts whereby a single participants’ information will be written as a case study. Alternatively, accounts from one case study will be used to create a table of themes or various case studies combined to make a theme. Body language will be part of the data to determine the magnitude and the impact the depression has in allied health professionals. Their life expectations will be recorded on a scale range of mild, moderate, severe and very severe. The descriptive data will then be presented in the form of charts, paragraphs and graphs while numerical data will be presented in tables.

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